Bhumi Pednekar will next be seen with Ayushamn Khurrana in Shubh Mangal Savdhan, which is produced by Anand L Rai and directed by R.S. Prasanna. It is a remake of a Tamil comedy.
You took a brave step by gaining so much weight in your first film; did you expect that people would accept you?
I had no idea if people would accept me, my character, the film (Zor Laga Ke Haisha) or even the love story between an overweight girl and a guy, that’s a complete failure but, it was a very pleasant surprise to see the way they did.
These days each actress is body shamed on social media. Do you find yourself lucky as you were not, during your debut?
I think I wasn’t because the film was about body shaming and image shaming and I think only a ridiculously stupid person would have body shamed me. I just got saved as I was a part of such a film and I was open about it with my weight standing proud and head high. And it was equally tough to lose the weight as it was to gain.
Would you again take that step for any other film?
I would definitely, as I believe in transforming myself physically for every role but I don’t know if I would go through that bigger transformation with 27 kgs this soon again as I have lost over 30 kilos now. It’s a lot that your body goes through and is very time-consuming. A woman has to work on it three times harder than the men and I have done it completely naturally. Maybe later in my career, I can think about it.
Till what extent you would change yourself for a role?
I don’t know but the extent that I went for in Dum Laga ke...was very extreme. In acting, I feel that is the most extreme that a person can go. Of course, I know there are actors that have done insane things for their roles. I believe in method (acting) and I will and can go that far. If a character requires me to go bald why not, I am up for it. It’s my hair it will grow again and if not I’ll wear a wig. We are in 2017 and we have a solution for everything.
Shubh Mangal Savdhan talks about erectile dysfunction...
This issue has been there since mankind started, but people just don’t speak about it. If a man has an erectile dysfunction issue due to whatever reason people start calling him impotent or start questioning his manhood. This film exactly speaks about it that your manhood doesn’t depend on your performance in bed, it depends upon how you treat the women around you, how polite and respectful you are and what kind of a human being you are.
How was your experience of working with Anand L Rai?
Amazing! Like Anand sir is such a bundle of joy. He is one of the nicest people that I have met in the fraternity. He is so talented and I have been such a big fan of his work. It’s an honour to be a part of this film. The beauty of him is that he is producing such a film which speaks about a taboo subject in such a clean way and I have to congratulate my writer and my director for achieving this. They are geniuses to make this film and speaking about a sexual issue into a family entertainer.
Do you feel you have made your presence felt in the industry now?
I think so yes, with my first film itself. I feel I have really made my presence felt within the fraternity for sure. Now it’s been more on a mass level as the film has reached a lot more people. I have made the presence felt with the audience more now.
Whose work inspires you the most?
I wouldn’t speak the professional work these women have done but the kind of women that they are I really get inspired by them. I adore Priyanka Chopra. I think she is brilliant. I adore her for the kind of woman that she is.
Would you like to follow the way she has been doing both in music and in films?
I think as a singer you need to be god gifted. I am a singer but I don’t know how good it is. I feel I am more of a bathroom singer.
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha received mixed reviews...do you feel the audience could not connect to it?
In fact, I think the audience connected with the film the most that is why in five days we have done the kind of numbers that we have. More of a mixed reaction was from the fraternity and the critics and that's fine. You have your critics so that they can pinpoint your weaknesses and I take everything as constructive criticism. I still want to thank them for watching the film.
It has been three years now that you have started your career. Also, the viewers and filmmakers have expectations from you...does that make you nervous?
Talking about films, I am always nervous. I was, during both my films and I will be nervous for Shubh Mangal Savdhan too, as it is a collaborative effort. These films aren’t doing well because of me; they are doing because they have a strong director, story, and the star cast. I do my part by doing my job correctly. There so many energies that need to be in sync for a film to work. Whereas I get motivated if people have expectations from me. I am glad that they have the faith in my craft.
I have done Bombay Talkies (2) with Zoya (Akhtar). I am not aware of its release date yet. But working with her was super liberating. It’s a short film of 27 minutes and the theme is of love and lust.